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Do I need to reprogram my car's computer after installing winter tires?

2011 Honda Odyssey


I just purchased a 2011 Honda Odyssey with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System. Just had the winter tires installed on steel rims with new valves (TPMS). According to one Honda service department, the vehicle computer is able to keep in memory the information for two set of wheels/tires (winter and summer). Therefore, it will not be required to have the TPMS reprogrammed every time I change my tire (spring or fall). A second Honda service department is telling me that the TPMS information needs to be re-entered every time I change my wheels. Could you tell me who is correct? – Jacques

Honda advises that the TPMS control unit must be reprogrammed for all four tire pressure sensor IDs whenever you replace the TPMS control unit, tire pressure sensors or substitute a "known-good" wheel with tire pressure sensor.

Honda says putting on a set of winter wheels/tires/sensor assemblies is the same as "Replace the tire pressure sensor" so the sensor IDs have to be memorized each time the wheels/tires/sensor assemblies are replaced.

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Honda does not have any system that can memorize two sets of TPMS sensors.

Replacing tires

A cautionary note: Like your earlier reader, I also have a 2011 Venza V-6 AWD and I also live in St. John's. When I asked the local dealer about winter wheels and tires, they said that so far there is no Toyota-authorized downsizing for the Venza's 20-inch wheels. They advised that I could take my chances, but if I had problems that Toyota determined were caused by using the smaller wheels, I might have difficulty getting warranty coverage. That's not a fight I'd want to have, especially with an extended warranty in place. My solution was to buy 20-inch winter tires and have them installed on the same alloy wheels. While a little more expensive than smaller tires, they weren't very difficult to find. One question; other than cost/availability, is there any advantage/disadvantage to having smaller wheels and larger tires? – Derek

No, you certainly do not want to get into a warranty battle with a manufacturer – unless you have done nothing wrong and have accurate records that back up your side of the issue.

If it comes to such an argument, remember you can go to CAMAVP – The Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan which will act as an arbitrator for such occasions.

In this case, it is perfectly okay to substitute smaller-diameter wheels provided they fit the bolt pattern of the Venza, have the correct offset (i.e., do not alter any alignment settings) and provide plenty of clearance for the brakes.

Provided the wheels meet these requirements, the most vital thing is to make sure the tires are the same overall diameter as the larger ones you are replacing – generally speaking, this involves a taller sidewall or profile and a narrower tire, i.e., going from a 225/50-series to a 215/55, etc. I'm using these sizes only as an example; a knowledgeable tire store will be able to supply the numbers and ensure a correct fit when changing sizes.

On your last point, there is a definite advantage in going to a narrower tire – it cuts through the snow or slush more readily instead of riding on top of it. While race cars look for the widest possible tire that will fit the vehicle and rules, rally drivers who compete on slippery surfaces prefer a narrow tire.

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The second reason you might enjoy them is that the taller sidewall allows more flex and a better ride.

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